Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty





Beauty, as a notion, has always been an inseparable trait of human nature. Throughout history, the concept of beauty has long been embodied in countless works of art, either in prehistoric drawings over the caves, sculptures, paintings, literary pieces, and numerous others to mention. Its meaning, its profound effect it gives to our perception of the world, and its importance are so encompassing that without such realization, our world would not have been a colorful one we see today.

It turns out that the history of aesthetics, and its spread, is not as simple as we can imagine. Numerous research by scientists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and professionals of other disciplinary fields alike have shown that this idea has long been rooted in the process of evolution, far before even human beings started to learn speaking. And, to add more surprises, the concept of beauty is universalized in numerous other animal species, say, peacocks, which show their ornamented, kinky-colored feathers to attract their opposite sexes.

The question is: what drives creatures to convey up a concept of beauty? Where does it really originate from? Why did it become an everlasting feature of human nature, and to a broader extent, of nearly all creatures? And how could it correlate with natural selection? Denis Dutton, a philosophy professor, will explain further in the TED talk below. Watch it, and think.